Rule the Mountain: Ski Touring at Monarch

Earn your turns with the best in-bounds ski tours at Monarch Mountain.

Freeride Skiing, Resort Ski Touring Moderate, Difficult, Severe

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Monarch Mountain powder day
Monarch Mountain powder day Photo: S. Evig

Description

An underrated gem near Salida, Monarch Mountain is a long-time locals’ mountain that retains its old-school feel in many ways, with fixed-grip chairlifts and a friendly community atmosphere. The resort is rather progressive in other ways, though, including their generous uphill access. Monarch allows all-day uphill, with designated routes during operating hours and nearly free reign after hours. An uphill pass is required, but it’s free with a season pass and reasonably priced otherwise.

Monarch is not a huge mountain, and the runs aren’t very long, but the terrain is surprisingly good, especially if you make it into Mirkwood Basin. This hike-to zone has the steeper shots, cliff drops, and secret stashes that make Monarch really worth the trip. The rest of the mountain is fairly beginner-friendly but with tougher runs spread throughout. This variety in such a small area makes it perfect for resort touring. No matter your ability, a casual workout or a longer skin up can lead to a range of descent options, and most of it is accessible 24 hours a day.

This guidebook contains the three designated routes for uphill during open hours, along with some recommended downhills from green to double black. During off-hours, any of the trails are fair game as long as they aren’t marked closed, and provided uphillers stay away from all mountain operations. Before you go, be sure to see Monarch’s Uphill Travel policies and how to get a pass.

Routes included

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